|Traded as||OMX: AHL1V|
|Industry||fiber-based materials: nonwovens and specialty papers|
|Key people||Robin Ahlstrom
(CEO) & (President)
|Products||everyday applications such as filters, medical fabrics, life science and diagnostics, wallcoverings and food packaging|
|Revenue||1 billion EUR|
|Employees||3 500 (2013)|
Ahlstrom is a Finnish high performance fiber-based materials company, partnering with leading businesses around the world. Ahlstrom's shares have been traded on the main list of the Helsinki Stock Exchange since March 2006. Registered trademarks include NatureMold sustainable molding material; AceBlade cost effective solution for Vacuum Infusion Process; Flow2Save a media for High Efficiency Air (HEA) filtration applications; Disruptor nano-fiber based water filter media using electrokinetic absorption and mechanical entrapment; Trinitex activated carbon air and water filter media; and Cytosep solid phase blood plasma filer media.
Ahlstrom has its roots in Finland: the founder, Antti Ahlström, was one of Finland's most prominent 19th century businessmen. Ahlstrom was started in 1908, and originates from the family saw mill, iron and shipping business of Antti Ahlström established in 1851. The company focused on pulp, paper and timber production and machinery, later expanding to glassworks (Iittala and Karhula).
Ahlstrom's paper production began in Varkaus in 1921 on Europe's largest paper production machine. By the beginning of the 1930s, Ahlstrom had grown into Finland's largest industrial conglomerate.
The outbreak of World War II led the company to convert much of its production to support the Finnish war effort. Following the war, the company played a major role in Finland's reconstruction and in its war reparations obligation. Ahlstrom alone accounted for nearly 15 percent of the country's total reparations. The company continued to expand into the 1950s, stepping up its engineering operations while also expanding into chemical wood processing technology.
Ahlstrom Corporation began to rapidly grow internationally in 1963, by acquiring a majority interest in a paper mill in Mathi close to Turin, Italy, that produced filter papers and rifle cartridge paper. This was the first significant international acquisition made by a Finnish company and made Ahlstrom a pioneer among major Finnish companies in internationalization.
The town of Varkaus grew up around the A. Ahlström paper mills. In the 1930s, the Sunila Plant in Karhula (now Kotka), designed by Alvar Aalto, was built by Ahlström. In the 1980s, in a large swap of facilities, the Varkaus works were handed over to Enso Gutzeit (now Stora Enso).
During the 1980s, Ahlstrom left the newsprint and magazine paper market and focused its operations on specialty papers. One of the most profound decisions in Finnish industrial history was made in 1987, when Ahlstrom unexpectedly sold its paper-producing units. Leaving newsprint production increased the relative value of Ahlstrom's specialty paper and engineering units.
In the 1990s, Ahlstrom expanded its focus to include nonwoven products. At the end of 1996, Ahlstrom Corporation continued its expansion by acquiring the French specialty paper and nonwovens producer Sibille-Dalle. During that same year, Ahlstrom Corporation established the Ahlstrom Paper Group to encompass the company’s fiber-based materials operations.
In 2000, Ahlstrom acquired Dexter Corporation's nonwovens production facilities in the United States, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Today, Ahlstrom is among the largest Nordic companies. The Ahlström family are still significant shareholders in the Ahlstrom Corporation.
In 2001, the group split into three companies. The manufacturing divisions were transferred to the now public Ahlstrom Corporation. Ahlstrom Capital Oy was established as a private investment company. And A.Ahlstrom Osakeyhtio was established as a private forestry and real estate management company.
In October 2005, Professor Johan Erik Gullichsen, chairman of Ahlstrom Corporation, was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame for his innovations in the processing of pulp fiber suspensions at medium consistency.
Ahlstrom Corporation Executive Management Team:
- Omar Hoek is Executive Vice President of The Food and Medical business area.
- Fulvio Capussotti is Executive Vice President of the Building and Energy business area.
- Jari Koikkalainen is Executive Vice President of the Filtration business area.
- Nadya Stoykov is Evecutive Vice President of Commercial Excellence, Customer Service and Sourcing.
- Paivi Leskinen is Executive Vice President, Human Resources.
- Sakari Ahdekivi is Chief Financial Officer.
- Ulla Bono is Executive Vice President, Legal, General Counsel.
Marco Levi statred as the President and CEO in June 2014.
In late 2006, Argonide licensed to Ahlstrom the rights to manufacture, market and sell filter media as roll stock under the trade name of Disruptor.
On March 30, 2007, Ahlstrom signed an agreement to acquire the consumer wipes business of Fiberweb plc. Following the acquisition, Ahlstrom became the third largest producer of nonwoven roll goods globally.
The acquired business included four plants located in Europe (Alicante, Spain; Mozzate, Italy; Carbonate, Italy) and in the USA (Bethune, SC). In 2006, the net sales of the acquired business amounted to EUR 110 million and it employed approximately 400 people. The wiping fabrics currently produced by Fiberweb's consumer wipes business are used mainly in personal care, baby care and household wipes applications. Ahlstrom closed the deal on May 25, 2007.
On February 1, 2008, Ahlstrom announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire Friend Group Inc., which consists of West Carrollton Parchment Company and West Carrollton Converting Company. The Group is a producer of vegetable parchment and has parchmentizing and converting operations located in West Carrollton, Ohio, USA. The transaction was completed in March 2008.
The new entity was integrated into Ahlstrom's vegetable parchment product line, which is part of the Food and Medical business area currently operating two sites manufacturing vegetable parchment in France and serving customers globally.
Ahlstrom announced on September 14, 2010 that it has completed the acquisition of Shandong Puri Filter & Paper Products Limited in China from the Purico Group.
Shandong Puri Filter & Paper Products Limited is a producer of transportation filtration media and operates a plant in Binzhou in the province of Shandong in northeastern China. The site currently employs 170 persons. The debt free transaction value is MEUR 22.5.
On October 28, 2010, Ahlstrom announced that a joint venture agreement was signed with Longkou Yulong Paper Company Ltd, to establish a new manufacturing facility by 2012 in Longkou China for production of medical papers and masking tape.
On December 3, 2010, Ahlstrom signed an agreement to exit its Sealing & Shielding business unit through the sale of Ahlstrom Altenkirchen GmbH in Germany. The acquirer is Interface Solutions, a portfolio company of Pennsylvania-based family owned private equity fund Susquehanna Capital. On December 7, 2010, Ahlstrom announced the sale of its Wuxi plant in China and 3 production lines in Bethune, SC to Andrew Industries.
On December 16, 2010, Ahlstrom announced the sale of its filtration business located in Groesbeck Texas, to Polyester Fibers, a portfolio company of private investment firm Empire Investment Holdings.
Ahlstrom Corporation, a global high performance materials company signed an agreement on August 4, 2011 to divest its wipes fabrics business area, Home and Personal, to Suominen Corporation, a Finnish publicly listed company. The total value of the transaction is approximately EUR 170 million.
In 2012 Ahlstrom Corporation announced that its Label and Processing business area will be combined with Munksjö Group to create a world leader in specialty papers.
Members of the Board of Directors of Ahlstrom
- Lori Cross, Member
- Robin Ahlstrom, Chairman
- Esa Ikaheimonen, Member
- Anders Moberg, Member
- Daniel Meyer, Member
- Markus Rauramo, Member
- Panu Routila, Member
- Risto Malin (2009-08-18). "Sovittelijan paluu". Talouselämä (in Finnish). Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- picvalley.com: Ahlstrom Corporate History
- Answers.com: Ahlstrom Corporation
- PaperAge: Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Honors Industry "Innovators"
- The New York Times, April 20, 2004: Company News; Sonoco Develops Partnership with Finnish Company
- The Sentinel, November 7, 2006: Relocation affects up to 70 jobs